Does driving to IKEA, shuffling through the masses, and then driving back seem too daunting? A new business will do it all for you.
Trips to IKEA might become less common for Richmonders thanks to Swedish Home Dash & Delivery, which will order, pick up, deliver, and even assemble items purchased from IKEA’s store in Woodbridge.
“We are much more personable than working directly with IKEA,” said Kim Williams, who operates the local business with her husband, Bernard. Not only does Swedish Home Dash & Delivery save Richmonders several hours by driving to Woodbridge and buying items–some of which aren’t available online–the company’s delivery fees are often less than what IKEA charges.
Williams got the idea for the business from a friend who operates a similar one in Knoxville, Tennessee. That friend suggested to Kim that she start one in Richmond because no one else had. Swedish Home Dash & Delivery launched in February as a part-time business.
How it works
IKEA sells over 10,000 items, some of which are available online. Online IKEA orders amounting to less than 70 lbs. are charged by the total of weight of individual orders. Orders over 70 lbs. cost $99 for online delivery, and that price climbs as the weight of orders increases.
Items that aren’t available online must be purchased in-store. If people want those in-store items delivered, they still must make an in-store purchase and schedule a delivery for a later date. An IKEA customer service representative I spoke with last week said that deliveries to a 23221 zip code cost a flat-rate of $129 and are only done on Wednesdays. Customers are given a time window ranging from six-eight hours on delivery days.
With Swedish Home Dash & Delivery, customers place their IKEA orders (including items that IKEA doesn’t ship) with the local company. The Williamses drive up to IKEA twice a month, purchase the items, and bring them back to Richmond. Customers can pick up their orders at the Williamses home in Chesterfield, or the Swedish Home & Dash and Delivery will deliver those items at no additional charge at a convenient time. “IKEA gives you a window of about eight hours,” Williams said. “We work around our customers’ schedules.” Swedish Home Dash & Delivery also provides returns to IKEA.
Williams said that many orders under $200 can be delivered from $39 – $79. For example, one customer ordered two Billy bookcases ($79.99 each). IKEA would have charged $99 for their delivery, but Swedish Home Dash & Delivery bought and delivered them for $79. For another order, a customer bought one MICKE desk ($89.99). IKEA would have charged $99; Swedish Home Dash & Delivery charged just $49.
If an order comprises several large and heavy items, Swedish Home Dash & Delivery will typically match IKEA’s $99 flat-rate price. Even if the couple only matches IKEA’s price, Williams said that customers typically prefer working with Swedish Home Dash & Delivery because of the quicker, personal service and the added convenience. “They just really appreciate our hard work and our service,” Williams said.
In addition to delivery, the Williamses will also assemble any ordered IKEA items at a rate of $30 per hour. IKEA’s assembly service begins at $79 for orders of $299 or less and increases with the purchase price of assembled items (PDF).
Swedish Home Dash & Delivery has relied on strong word-of-mouth reviews to grow. “We’re gaining in strength and gaining more customers,” Williams said. “It’s grown steady over these last few months.”
She said most customers are working adults that live in The Fan and Shockoe Bottom area. “It’s been cool to see lots of neat apartments,” Williams said. Parents with children are also common customers. “We’ve done a lot of storage options for people that want to organize playrooms.”
Williams said she and her husband would like to work with more VCU students, especially next fall during the start of the academic year. When asked if she thought Swedish Home Dash & Delivery would one day become more than a part-time business, Williams said it just might. “I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of being busier,” she said.
photo by Ian Muttoo